Bump jumped into the let-up: “Get set! --- Go!” And at long last, mossy from their wait at the starting line, they went. Even as the race began – even after it began – Maniac wasn’t sure how to run it. Naturally he wanted to win, or at least to do his best. All his instincts told him that.
Although this morning’s run lacks all of the hype of a big race, I can’t help feeling now the same as I would then: just let the movement begin. In his novel, Once a Runner,John L. Parker’s character, Cassidy, envisions the start of a race with the urgency most runners share: “The all-consuming roar, the overwhelming psych would begin then and would build up until he stood ready on this line, at once controlled and near lunacy, fearless and terrified, wishing for the relief of the start, the misery of the end. Anything! Just let the waiting be done with!”1 Although numerous haunting “why’s” are tempting dissuasions before any unnecessary physical exertion, I cannot bear to ponder them all at the base of this mountain.
Panic and doom were those thoughts that dominated my mind when I was told this. However, I was always an optimist and tried to convince myself that I could defeat him (Yeah right!). We approached the table and shook hands. In the few initial minutes, we warmed up, just casually rallying the ball around, but even then he was playing better tennis than I ever had. The coach then blew his whistle which concluded the warm up and signaled the commencement of the match.
I hated the hurdles so to myself I told myself I wasn’t going to practice hard because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wouldn’t practice hard so I got put on JV. I won all the JV races in the 300 hurdles so that just pushed me to not want to practice even more because I could win without practice. District track meet rolls around and Trey one of the varsity runners gets hurt so coach moves me to varsity. In my mind I am thinking this is going to be easy I haven’t lost a race on JV so I won’t lose on varsity.
The season started off and my team and I was not doing so well. Our time were far off from last year. The coaches were very hard on us. All we could do was hold our head down because we thought we were not going to ever get back in shape in time of enough. Many of the other teams had been practicing year round, but we have a short three weeks to get real for just our first meet.
Knowing I could get no more rest, I got up and decided to fit in one last training session before the main event. Bang! The race had started. As I ran I could feel the roar of the wind rushing past me. My mind was focused on winning, everything else was pushed away to allow me to concentrate: I could not think of anything else as I did not want to make my friends and family ashamed of me if I did not win.
Then, all of the sudden, the jeopardy theme song came on. It was time for my answer, so the pros of missing class would be of course no class, no work, and sleep. The idea sounded great at the time until, my anxiety kicked in like a massive tsunami. If I were to miss one day of class I would have one absence. Another thing would be finding out that I have an exam and essays in both classes on Monday.
One day I had enough and just started working hard on building confidence in my shot. I would spend hours on end just trying to build confidence because I had no confidence in anything I did. 8th-grade basketball tryouts finally rolled around. I had been practicing for a whole year, but still felt so much further behind than the rest of the kids trying out. I knew I had to try my literal hardest to make the team.
Every second pulls me closer to the end and I know I can avoid it no more than the tumultuous thud of my heartbeat. I can feel my nerves tingling like they’re being stroked with the blade of a sharpened knife. The ticks seem to be getting louder and faster; echoing the tumultuous/intense thudding of my heart against my ribcage. I’m frozen by sudden panic and my mind is offering me only one thought: they’ve found it, they’ve caught me. It’s a customs officer.